As the dust settles on last week’s UN meeting on the illegal wildlife trade in London, East African countries will need to take a more proactive role in stopping the slaughter.
Kenya and Tanzania, having made the ignominious Gang of Eight most culpable nations according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), have come in for heavy criticism for their role as a conduit for the lucrative and illegal trade in animal parts.
The unwelcome corollary is that these countries are also major source countries and key theatres for the poaching menace.
It should not take the threat of international sanctions for these countries to act.
In any case, unchecked poaching is a major blight on these countries’ natural heritage and could greatly diminish their magnetic pull for tourists, who remain a major source of foreign exchange.
Punitive, deterrent sentences for offenders, as seen in Kenya recently, are a good start.